churchyard are several interesting graves and a very ancient yew reputed to be
over 800 years old.
Felpham is now the eastern suburb of
Bognor, and is linked to the town by a small bungalow colony. Here Hayley came after selling Eartham, but the place is now more famous for its associations with the poet's friend Blake, who lived for three years in the small thatched cottage which still stands at the seaward end of the village. Hayley was buried in the churchyard, which also contains the tomb of Dean Jackson, once tutor to George IV. The church is a mixture of styles, one row of pillars being Early English the other Transitional. The much quoted epitaph on a blacksmith written by Hayley runs as follows:—
"My sledge and hammer lie reclin'd; My bellows, too, have lost their wind; My fire's extinct, my forge decay'd, And in the dust my vice is laid; My coal is spent, my iron gone, The nails are driven, my work is done."
Blake's associations with the village came to a sudden end in consequence of a stupid and unwarranted prosecution for treason, the outcome of a struggle with a drunken soldier. The mystic poet-artist gained some of his most characteristic inspirations while staying here, and it was in the garden of his cottage that he saw a "fairy's funeral," the description of which has been often quoted; it is difficult to judge how much of his visions were, to himself, poetic fancy or actual fact.
We now resume our journey towards Chichester at Walberton, north of which the high road runs west, with little of interest until a turning on the right brings us to the finest ecclesiastical building in the county excepting the Cathedral.